Crew: Pioneer wins State Championship Regatta in Grand Rapids


By Cathy Mizgerd and Kirsten Segal

The Pioneer High School crew team emerged as the clear champion of the State Championship Regatta last Saturday, May 19, at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids. Competing against 17 other high school teams, Pioneer earned 171.75 points for its teams’ combined performance, 23.5 points ahead of the second-place team.

Sponsored by the Scholastic Rowing Association of Michigan, the regatta featured a 1,500-meter sprint-race course along the Grand River. Of the 307 boats entered into the regatta’s 20 different events, Pioneer entered 15.

Fourteen of Pioneer’s 15 boats advanced from heat trials to final races. In addition to its 4+ and 8+ boats, Pioneer entered three small boats: a men’s varsity single and two men’s varsity pairs. Many rowers competed in more than one boat, which led them to race the course repeatedly throughout the day. The fastest Pioneer boat on the course was the men’s varsity 8 with a time of 4:51.6.

The water was high in the river, with boats racing against a fast current, making it a struggle at times to advance in a forward direction, particularly for the smaller boats.

In addition, the strength of the current resulted in a discrepancy at times between the conditions from one racing lane to the next, which may have influenced some of the outcomes.

The day’s temperatures began in the mid-50s, climbing to a high of 64 degrees by about 2 p.m. Rain misted the morning air, with some periods of heavier showers. The wind was very light, ranging from 1 to 3 miles per hour, and did not appear to affect the races.

The sun emerged briefly around 5 p.m. in the evening, just as Pioneer was announced as the state rowing champion.

The Pioneer team showed strong cohesion among its members, who could be seen and heard hugging with joy and cheering for one another throughout the races.

For the next (and final) regatta of its spring 2018 season, the Pioneer crew team will travel to Martindale Pond in St. Catharine’s, Ontario, June 1–3, for the 73rd annual Championship Regatta of the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association.

The regatta brings together collegiate, high school, and secondary school teams from around the world.


Women’s Junior 8+, with a time of 5:50.3: Alyssa Sun, Tina Ai, Jasmine Bose Partridge, Laura Akey, Hope Hesseltine, Erica Burns, Presley Koepp, Catharine Sukpraphrute with Lisa Brinkel as coxswain.

​Men’s Junior 8+, with a time of 5:01.2: Martin Jalet, Erik Anderson, Thomas Morrison, Alex Broughton, Nathan Sprick, Hank Murdock, Gabe Gurule, Jonathan Flynn with Natalie Uytingco as coxswain.

Women’s Freshman 4+, with a time of 6:36.9: Hope Hesseltine, Laura Akey, Jasmine Bose Partridge, Erica Burns with Talia Zakalik as coxswain.

Men’s Junior 4+, with a time of 5:43.9: Martin Jalet, Erik Anderson, Gabe Gurule, Drew McCreadie with Elizabeth Williams as coxswain.


Men’s Varsity 4+, with a time of 5:24.5: Josh Joyce, James Wishart, Jacob Segal, Max Bayer with Elizabeth Williams as coxswain.

Men’s Varsity 8+, with a time of 4:51.6: Josh Joyce, Max Bayer, Jacob Segal, James Wishart, Josh Weiner, Jack Haviland, Cal McCullough, Josh Grant with Natalie Uytingco as coxswain.


Women’s Junior 4+, with a time of 6:48.3: Ella Cunningham, Ruby Taylor, Lydia Schaafsma, Ariel Mobius with Lisa Brinkel as coxswain.


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